In celebration of our 26th wedding anniversary, my loving hubby bought us first section seats to the Rod Stewart concert at Blossom Music Center, just south of Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in which Sir Rod is an inductee.Though Blossom is a lovely setting for a concert, it was not my favorite venue in which I’ve seen Rod. Last night was my 7th concert and unfortunately I still haven’t caught a soccer ball! I felt the stage was too small to provide the full range of movement for Rod. Usually he runs the entire length of the stage and makes use of every inch especially on the sides. though he wasn’t able to do that last night, Rod still put on a great performance.
He immediately got the crowd rocking with the opening song Infatuation. And moved on to Some Guys Have All the Luck, during which I leaned over and reminded my guy just how lucky he was! Then Cyndi Lauper, who was Rod’s opening act,joined him on stage in a duet of This Old Heart of Mine. In both these songs, Rod’s saxophone player had incredible solos. I love how Rod shares the stage with his band and let’s their talents shine through. Rod is clearly a generous performer. He allows members of the band to shine throughout the show, which simply adds to the quality of the experience.
His saxophone player, Jimmy Roberts was incredible on numerous songs. Roberts Jazzy solo in “Downtown Train” helped make the performance. Another long time player in the band, J’anna Jacoby, provided a sweet violin accompaniment in “The First Cut is the Deepest”. Her use of the mandolin on “Maggie Mae” made the arrangement feel authentic. My husband was most impressed with the stand up bass solo in Have I Told You Lately. You don’t see that often!!
Then Rod slowed things down with one of my favorites, Tonight’s the Night. Could the evening get any better – a beautiful summer night, my husband’s arms around me and Rod singing a classic love song. Priceless. After You Wear it Well, Rod got to one my favorites, Forever Young. What an amazing version of it – the drum solos, the Scottish outfits on the ladies, and the banjo. I’m a half marathon runner and 50 years old. I play this song on every run to keep me going. Gotta stay Forever Young!!!
The hits then just kept coming – Rhythm of My Heart, Young Turks, It’s a Heartache, Downtown Train, First Cut is the Deepest, Reason to Believe, You’re in My Heart,and Have I Told You Lately during which Rod gave a magnificent acapella solo.
I loved, loved, loved that he sang the song Can’t Stop Me Now from the Time album.That’s another power song for me and my 13 year old daughter, Ainsley. The song speaks to both of us that no matter how hard things get in life, never give up and always keep working for your dreams.
Some artists feel the need to reinvent every song in such fundamental ways that it takes two minutes for a concertgoer to finally recognize what is being played. Rod’s interpretation of his songs is faithful enough to insure audience enjoyment but not so formulaic as to think you have listened to the radio for two hours. The use of a banjo and three person drum solo in Forever Young proves the point. Stewart’s arrangement of his classics keeps them fresh and alive without sacrificing their original majesty.
Rod began the concert finale with the song that put him on the map – Maggie May.Don’t forget that it was a DJ in Cleveland, Ohio that played that B side of the record!!! He then moved on to the infamous Do You Think I’m Sexy? I turned to my husband of 26 years and told him that he still was! Thanks Rod for another fantastic concert and helping my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Review By Michelle Gillcrist
Photos By Michelle Gillcrist
Montage Tommy Kevitt